When it comes to looking smart, presentable, and sexy, unwanted hair on different parts of the body always comes in our way. It not only looks horrible but also stops us from flaunting our favorite peek-a-boo dresses. The same happens when you have nasty hair on your chin, cheeks, or forehead too. Be it body hair or facial hair, if it is undesirable, you may want to find ways to reduce or stop its growth for a longer duration. A good hair retarder cream is the best answer to this. Here is why you should include it in your hair removal regime and how to choose the best products.
Common Methods of Hair Removal
The growth of unwanted hair on different body parts like the back, legs, toes, feet, chin, cheeks, upper lip, etc. is caused by many factors. These include genetics, hormonal imbalance, polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS (1), drug reactions (steroids), and so on. Following are some of the most common methods practiced by women around the world for eliminating excess hair:
In shaving, a razor is used to lop the hair off at its base. It is great for legs, arms, and face. Though shaving does not cause your hair to grow thicker, it can irritate sensitive areas of the body like the pubic region and cause ingrown hair.
2. Tweezing or Plucking
This is an extremely painful method, which is ideal for getting rid of stray hairs. A pair of tweezers is helpful in reshaping and grooming our eyebrows too. However, do not try to pull hair out from large areas as it can lead to ingrown hair or even scarring.
3. Depilatory Creams
These are commercial hair removal creams that do not require prescriptions. Slathering these highly alkaline formulations on damp skin will dissolve the protein structure of the hair, thereby eliminating them completely. While using depilatory creams, instructions and warnings mentioned on product labels should be followed carefully in order to steer clear of adverse effects like burns, blisters, stinging, itchy rashes, and skin peeling (2).
Always do a patch test before using depilatory creams to ensure that you will not have bad reactions to them. They are strictly not for sensitive or allergy-prone skin. Also, do not use them on inflamed or broken skin.
Whether you undergo hot waxing at a salon or do it yourself at home, it is going to be messy and painful. It also comes with its own share of side effects, such as burns, infections, skin peeling, etc. The process can also interact with certain acne creams containing retin-A, isotretinoin, etc.
5. Laser Hair Removal
Laser can give you a long-lasting solution for unwanted hair by destroying the hair bulbs with a narrow intense beam of light. You can try this method for any part of your body under the supervision of an expert. However, it is an expensive treatment that needs 4 or even more sessions 4-6 weeks apart and can only treat dark hair.
This method removes extra hair by using a tiny current-carrying needle in hair follicles. Galvanic electrolysis destroys the follicles chemically while thermolytic electrolysis makes use of heat for this purpose.
Certain prescription medications like Spironolactone pill, Vaniqa cream, etc. can reduce the growth of hair in areas where you do not wish to have hair at all (3).
Disadvantages of Regular Hair Removal
While all these common hair removal methods promise you smooth, hair-free skin right away, the results are usually temporary. Here are all the cons of regular hair removal techniques that you need to consider:
- You cannot expect your skin to be free from unwanted hair forever as at least some of the hair will eventually grow back. Hence, all these methods are repetitive and you may need to try them every few days or weeks based on the frequency of your hair growth.
- Some of these methods take lots of time to be finished. Such a time-consuming chore is not only boring but also steals your precious time.
- They also come with minor to moderate side effects including nicks and cuts, redness, blotchiness, burns, and pain.
- Sometimes frequent hair removal makes the hair row back even double quickly, which is absolutely not desirable.
- Most of these procedures are expensive as you need to either invest in commercial products for DIY sessions or seek the help a trained beautician in a hygienic beauty parlor again and again.
What is a Hair Retarder Cream?
It is basically a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to bid goodbye to your excess hair for a longer duration by enhancing the results of temporary hair removal. Hair retarder creams, also called hair retardants or hair inhibitors, are moisturizing creams or lotions that inhibit hair regrowth quite effectively. The products do not remove pesky body and facial hair permanently but slows down the emergence of new hair. As the hair turns sparser and the growth becomes almost negligible over time, the need for hair removal gets reduced to a great extent. This entire process can be done at home without the help of skilled professionals and hence, does not burn a hole in your wallet. (4)
Hair retarder creams need to be used in combination with regular hair removal methods. It will help you get the best possible results in the long run.
How Does a Hair Retarder Cream Work?
Hair retarder creams are mostly topical solutions that use plant enzymes as active ingredients. They are applied to the skin right after removing hair from it. When massaged over the freshly treated part of the skin, they penetrate into the hair roots gently and change the structure of the hair follicles. This not only weakens the hair roots gradually but also destroys them completely inside the skin until they stop producing hair altogether. Hair retarder creams also soothe, nourish, and soften the skin while minimizing the regrowth of hair. Hence, the new hair that comes up in the next cycle becomes much finer, shorter, lighter, softer, and sparser. Regular and prescribed use of these creams can show visible results in few weeks to few months.
Hair retarder creams decrease the hair removal frequency by making the results last longer and increasing the time gap between two sessions in an ascending order.
How to Buy a Good Hair Retarder Cream?
These days, the market is flooded with hair retarder creams from various brands. But not all of them are made equal. Following are the most important factors to consider while buying the best hair inhibitor:
- Go through the product label carefully and make sure that the key active ingredients used in it are natural. Unlike harmful chemical compounds, clinically proven natural substances (mostly plant enzymes) weaken hair roots safely. They neither cause side effects nor damage the skin in the long run.
- It should not contain dangerous elements like mineral oils (also known as ‘petrolatum’ or ‘liquid paraffin’) or parabens. Mineral oils suffocate the skin by clogging its pores, thereby leading to rashes, breakouts, and acne. On the other hand, parabens result in hormonal imbalance,
- Check whether the hair retardant cream is intended for the full-body use or not. Typically, a product used for underarms is not suitable for using on the bikini line. So, do not forget to choose products according to their strength and uses.
Drawbacks of a Hair Retarder Cream
Well, hair inhibitors are not all about exciting hair removal benefits. We have listed below the drawbacks of the products to make you aware of them:
- Hair retarder creams do not help you get rid of the existing unwanted hair completely.
- Most of these can take as long as about 60 days to start working properly.
- They need to be used in combination with normal hair removal methods to offer the best possible results.
- Some people may be allergic to some of the ingredients used in these creams.
- You need to use them on a regular basis in order to get effective results.
Side Effects of a Hair Retarder Cream
Finally, here is a list of potential risks and side effects associated with the regular use of hair retarder creams:
- Some hair retarder creams may cause rashes and irritation. Hence, they should not be used by pregnant women.
- You may have to give a hair retarder a pass while using a depilatory cream as sometimes the chemicals used in both products interact with each other and cause skin irritation.
- Certain chemicals in hair retarder products can cause darkening of the skin. They may also cause other hair removal issues like chicken skin and bumpiness in instances of prolonged use.
- If the exact instructions of the application are not followed, irritation can be caused and/or aggravated.
- Inflamed hair follicles known as folliculitis can be experienced by a few users.
- Drug-induced hair loss can also happen in some users.
- Pigmentation of hair and skin as well as photosensitivity can occur in a few instances too.
It is advisable to use hair retarder products exercising great caution and ideally under the supervision of a dermatologist, who can monitor the progress and also keep a regular check on any emerging side effects.
Hair retarder creams inhibit the regrowth of unwanted hair when used in combination with regular hair removal methods. They do not remove hair completely but weaken them over time to ensure that the new hair becomes thinner, softer, and sparser. However, these use of these products have certain drawbacks. They even come with their own share of risks too. Hence, it is always advised to use hair retardants after consulting a dermatologist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Hair Retardant Creams as Important as Hair Removal Products?
Not at all. It is only meant for people who find it irksome to spend lots of time, money, and energy in undergoing regular hair removal sessions frequently.
Is Hair Retarder creams Effective after Any Hair Removal Method?
Though you can use hair retardants after any hair removal method, they actually work the best when combined with methods like waxing, sugaring, tweezing, and threading. It brings faster and more visible outcomes as they remove hair from the roots and allows the formulations to penetrate into the pores easily.
How Do You Use Hair Retarder Creams?
Take the cream in adequate amount and apply all over the skin from where you have removed hair recently. Massage the cream gently by using your fingertips as if you are massaging your day cream and continue until the product gets absorbed into the skin totally. Repeat it twice every day after each hair removal session until you get the desired results.
- “Hirsutism: Evaluation and Treatment“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “What You Need to Know About Hair-Smoothing Treatments“, WebMD.com
- “Hair Removal Options“, WebMD.com
- “Role of NEUD Natural Hair Inhibitor in Reducing Unwanted Body Hair Growth; As an Adjuvant Therapy with Waxing and With Normal Hair Removal Cream“, InterScience.org.UK